Rasmus Sandin an option for Maple Leafs this season

During Headlines the panel discussed Barrett Hayton’s injury, the Calgary Flames not using free cap space on part-time players and Peter Laviolette not being on the hot seat despite recent troubles.

As the top-scoring defenceman at the 2020 World Junior Championship, Rasmus Sandin is making the most of his opportunity with Team Sweden. And when he comes back to North America, he may have an opportunity to return to the NHL “sooner than later,” according to Sportsnet’s Chris Johnston.

“Because he played six games earlier in the season, I do think at some point later this year we’re going to see him get in more games with the Maple Leafs,” Johnston said during Saturday’s Headlines segment on Hockey Night in Canada.

A Toronto Maple Leafs‘ first-round selection in 2018, Sandin played six games for the parent club in October, collecting two assists, five shots and an even rating with a 12:13 average ice time. The 19-year-old also has two goals and 12 points in 19 games with the Maple Leafs’ AHL affiliate, the Toronto Marlies.

If Sandin reaches the 10-game threshold at the NHL level, this season would count as the first year of his entry-level contract, thus making him eligible for restricted free agency following the 2021-22 season. But if he finishes the season with nine or fewer NHL games, Sandin’s contract would slide an extra year — and his $894,167 cap hit would not count against Toronto’s salary cap until next season.

“I don’t believe the Leafs believe that’s a priority,” Johnston said regarding Sandin playing fewer than 10 NHL games and preserving a year of his entry-level contract.

There may be added incentive to bring Sandin back to the Maple Leafs soon, given last weekend’s news that defenceman Jake Muzzin is week-to-week with a broken foot.

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